Subject: FW: A new Letter to FAO headquarters about the FAO Office in Venezuela
Date: Mon, 16 May 2016 18:21:54 -0400
Two months ago I sent your Washington office and, later to you, a letter about the reprehensible behavior of the FAO representative in Caracas. This letter has not had any answer from you. I find that an international organization such as yours should be more careful about handling the comments from citizens with legitimate issues to discuss.
I find in your silence an evidence of complicity with the sad posture of your Caracas representative,
The letter said:
March 13, 2016
Food and Agriculture Organization,
Washington DC Liaison Office
2121 K St NW #800b, Washington, DC 20037
I hope you will convey this letter to its appropriate recipient, since I am not sure which office should be the one to consider its contents.
My name is Gustavo Coronel. I am a Venezuelan citizen, now living in Virginia, USA. I am not an expert in your field, just an observer of the current Venezuelan reality in the food and agricultural sector. As you probably know the availability of food and the situation of the agricultural sector in Venezuela has become critical, to the point that the Venezuelan National Assembly has declared a state of emergency to exist in these areas. Due to the disastrous policies generated by the government that has been in place for the last 17 years, Venezuela, in spite of the highest oil income in history, has become a country where markets lack all essential foodstuff and where the Venezuelan people have to stand in line for hours to obtain the most meager food items, just barely enough for day to day subsistence. The country depends heavily on food imports, largely controlled by government agencies. This has generated significant corruption since tons of food, grossly over-billed, have been imported already in rotten conditions and have been found abandoned and hidden. These imports are mostly done through mafias made up of government bureaucrats and its friends. The cases are numerous and I am sure you will be able to find them in the Venezuelan and international press, see just one example:http://www.maduradas.com/lo-que-vtv-no-cuenta-hallan-45-toneladas-de-comida-podrida-en-camiones-de-pdval-en-falcon/
In parallel with this tragic situation your organization maintains a representative in Venezuela, Mr. Marcelo Resende, at least since 2013, who has become a prominent supporter of the Venezuelan government policies related to food availability and distribution. His laudatory comments have been abundant and defy the reality which is evident to the eyes of anyone living in Venezuela today. Last year, in April 2015, he publicly declared (my translation):
“Venezuela is an example of good public policies to combat hunger, not only in our region but in the whole world. FAO recognizes these efforts. He added: “Venezuela is one of the countries with the largest public food distributing network: Mercal, Mercalito, PDVAL, Bicentenario and FAO can see this and congratulates the Venezuelan people. You can always count with FAO’s support”. And went on to say (abbreviated): “In name of the United Nations I want to congratulate you. Here we have a vivid example of how communes and government are winning food security and sovereignty”.
Coming at a time in which Venezuelan suffer a tragic food crisis and when corruption in those governments institutions mentioned by Mr. Resende are very well documented, these expressions of support by FAO’s Caracas representative have been considered by Venezuelans as extremely cynical. In fact, PDVAL and Bicentenario bureaucrats have been found to be involved in massive corruption, see:http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/160130/presos-presidentes-de-abastos-bicentenario-y-cval-por-hechos-de-corrup
By coincidence, in those same days of 2015, the Venezuelan government had transferred $12 million to the FAO’s Caracas office to finance a program to “eradicate hunger”.
In the last few days, March 2016, Mr. Resende has, again, made extremely laudatory comments about the Venezuelan food disaster. He has said, see: http://www.noticierodigital.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20944 : My translation: “I congratulate the people and government of Venezuela for the existence of the best public food distribution network and for structuring an active social participation and organization [in this sector].
Mr. Marcelo Resende has probably been in Venezuela too long and has been clearly co-opted by the Venezuelan regime to become one of its most ardent supporters. His pro-government bias is not only unjustified but cruel, in light of the Venezuelan reality. I, as a Venezuelan citizen, protest against this unprofessional posture by the FAO Caracas office representative. I think this deserves an investigation by FAO’s highest authorities since the name of the organization is being invoked to support what is, in fact, a major tragedy.
I am at your service in case you need further information,
8360 Greensboro drive #710
McLean, Virginia 22102